he relationship of shape and color is explored by many artists throughout art history, yet Sarah Crowner’s unique practice of exploration separates her from the rest. By using a part acrylic paint, part 

die mix painted onto loose canvas, Crower’s Matisse-like cut outs are stitched together to explore color and shape relationships.

Crowner works with seamstress in the construction of her works. She sowed by herself for 5 years, then picked up her seamstresses so she could focus on thinking about shapes, color, and cutting rather than sowing. Through her daily practice of trial and error, Crowner learned more and more as she has conducted her practice. The more time working spent working in her art the more it became fluid. 

“The more you look, think, and make art the better you get... it becomes a form of meditation”


The stitch lining connects the painted cutout pieces of canvas to come together as one unite that is then stretched on the stretcher. Crowner finds influence and inspirations from all shapes. Her current works were inspired by sumii ink, medusa, and other things. After developing her process Crowner has developed her instincts around the relationship of shapes and color. 

“To follow the inner instinct is to destroy 9/10 paintings,” 

The developed individual cut and painted pieces lead Crowner to save and reuse excess scraps to construct other final works. Rather than communicating her own narrative through her work she allows the materials, the canvas, line, and color to speak.Crowner also explores the definition of painting. Claiming tile, and stone sculpture as a type of painting. Her interest have expanded into creating the possibility of walking on a painting, as a form of architecture, by creating tiled platforms. Covid has prevented artworks to be seen in real life. Viewing over a screen prevents the individual from seeing, feeling, and exploring things to truly engage with the painting.  Context is everything and is denied by viewing through the screen.

By joining two bodies of color together, a practical solution to get to the point of completion, Crowner uses the medium of paint and the medium of canvas. Crowner is interested in how the human body interacts with a painting. She explores the relationship of painting and movement. Crowner forms became  Three-dimensional in the sets design and costumes for the Lincoln Center Ballet. This project explored the differences and similarities of the performance space verse art space. In an art gallery the viewers are more active verses the performance’s audience members whom are unable to get up close to the painting. Crowner worked with mood lighting to change the color of the panting making the piece  ephemeral because of the various colors of reflecting light. The dynamic of music and dance animated the painting to create a world of art.  

The Brooklyn-based artist amid a sampling of her vibrant, sewed-together canvases. Photographed by Jessica Antola, Vogue, December 2018